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2014 Butlins Mineworkers Championships — Championship Section - As it happened

All the action from the 2014 Butlins Mineworkers Championships — Championship Section — as it happened.

Championship Section • Sunday 19, 23:55:21


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 23:04:37

Results: Championship Section
(Set test + Own Choice) = Total
Test Piece: 'Energy' - Robert Simpson
Adjudicators: David Read MBE and Derek Broadbent (Set Work) Ian Porthouse and Derek Southcott (Entertainment)

1. Flowers (Paul Holland) 1st/1st = 2
2. Desford Colliery (Tom Davoran) 2nd/2nd = 4
3. East Yorkshire Motor Services (Alan Morrison) 3rd/6th = 9
4. Woodfalls (Phil Randell) 5th/5th = 10
5. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Leigh Baker) 7th/3rd = 10
6. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (David Hirst) 4th/9th = 13
7. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke) 9th/4th = 13
8. Thoresby Colliery (Brian Grant/Steve March) 6th/10th = 16
9. Aveley & Newham (Melvin White) 8th/8th = 16
10. Wingates (Paul Andrews) 10th/7th = 17
11. Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise) 11th/11th = 22
12. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (David Nesbitt) 13th/12th = 25
13. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill) 12th/14th = 26
14. Wantage A (Phillip Bailey) 14th/13th = 27

Set Work placing takes precedence in event of tie.


Highest Placed Mining Band: Desford Colliery
Most Entertaining Band: Flowers
Geoff Dove Soloist Award: David Childs (Flowers) Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms
Best Bass Section: Desford Colliery


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 18:48:16

4BR prediction:

It's been a very long and varied day of entertainment today - the best being some considerable margin ahed of the rest.

Lots of interesting programmes but the quality came from the usual suspects of Desford and Flowers with Virtuosi GUS finally turning up today after yesterday's disappointments.

Today's top three are Desford, Flowers and GUS for us - but the top two are so close together it is a flip of a coin.

Virtuosi GUS and Carlton Main are close together and close behind, and then comes a solid Woodfalls and a highly entertaining EYMS just ahed of dark horse Thoresby.

Entertainment:
1. Desford
2. Flowers
3. Virtuosi GUS
4. Carlton Main Frickley
5. Woodfalls
6. EYMS

Dark Horse: Thoresby

After yesterday's set work prediction we go for an overall top six of Desford, Flowers, Virtuosi GUS, Woodfalls, Carlton Main, EYMS With a dark horse of Thoresby and Unite the Union.

We have to say though, that it is exceptionally close between Desford and Flowers and could go either way. They were some way ahed of the rest this weekend and either would be a worthy champion.

Overall Prediction:

1. Desford
2. Flowers
3. Virtuosi GUS
4. Woodfalls
5. Carlton Main Frickely
6. EYMS

Dark Horse: Thoresby and Unite the Union


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 18:03:30

14. Woodfalls (Phil Randell)

The Woodfalls theme is Salute to the Gods - and then open up with a PLC piece.

Blimey - we knew his works were popular but to reach omnipotence levels is going a bit....

'Enter the Galaxies' is played with power and commitment and blows out any lingering tiredness in the audience. The sop player then falls off the stage but thankfully is OK. It wasn't any Godly intervention either.

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Jan Boler gives 'Glorious Ventures' a bright polish before we neatly segue into the hymn tune 'Abide with Me'. The puzzle here is the inspiration given the stated Titanic link - its stretching the religious context even though they supposedly played it as they sunk beneath the waves.

Whatever - it is lovingly shaped, textured and balanced.

The traditional New Orleans cemetery trip music up next - and the slow shuffle to the graveside with 'Just a Closer Walk with Thee'. Did you know that on the way back they usually play 'Oh Didn't He Ramble'.

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This one is jazzed up though before they sink him six foot down though - and is played with a neat celebratory feel.

'Dreamtime' provides the Aboriginal finale - all about their Gods and their sacred beliefs - and performed by Cory on their recent Aussie tour.

It's an interesting climax - aided by the narration. Colourful and flowing it carries its specific non-monotheist message to the bold and substantial climax.

Overall:
A well put together programme that set out its stall and just about kept to its inspiration. There was plenty of quality playing on show despite the odd moment of uncertainty and carelessness, but it should keep the band in contention for a top six finish.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 17:29:07

13. Wingates (Paul Andrews)

The inventive Flash Mob start took its time to make sense after a bit of lame humour, but when it did, it came off well with a bubbly rendition of Pee Wee Ellis's 'The Chicken'.

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How we quite got to the 'Horn Call and Fanfares' from Wagner's opera 'Siegfried' is quite a leap of the musical imagination - but somehow it just about works - thanks to the determination of the main solo lines and a pumping ensemble that the old rascal would have been proud to use to open the doors to Valhalla.

Another heck of a musical leap in another direction now - with a suave and languid rendition of 'Italia' that has soft echoes of sultry days winding your way down to Naples with Sophia Loren waiting to say hello in the back seat.

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Now we get another leap into left field and a fizzy take on 'The Green Hornet'. All that was missing was Bruce Lee and the high karate kicks, although it sounded as if Brucie had taken a trip to Russia in the process. A bit scrappy but plenty of fun!

The finale comes with 'Make our Garden Grow' from 'Candide'. How we got here we can't really work out, but it has been curiously effective and enjoyable - and played with substance and spirit by a young band, led admirably by the MD.

Overall:
What a curious mix and match approach - but one that did come off. Hard to put your finger on the inspiration, but the pieces complimented each other in a strange way. A fully committed and spirited performance by both MD and band.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 16:53:07

12. Desford Colliery (Tom Davoren)

Desford really go for it to open with a thumping 'Bat out of Hell' - one that Meatloaf would be proud off (despite the one nasty batty moment) and the follow that up with the deft touch of Emily Cumby and Becky McCrystal playing the 'Flight of the Bumble Bee'.

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There is a neat touch of humour to go with the superb playing - all without music. Classy, clever and entertaining.

There is also a touch of real virtuosity about this programme themed on damnation and redemption - with trombonist Jonathan Pippen the next to showcase his abilities with an outstanding performance of 'Diversions on Calon Lan'. Tremendous playing.

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Much to admire about the second playing of 'Magnum Mysterium' too - tasteful, elegant and refined - although it was played at a pretty safe dynamic level.

Final redemption comes with the Sally Army - and Dean Jones's 'Glorifico Aeternum' - played at a cracking pace. It hangs in there at times but the drive and excitement wins through. If you are to save your soul and get your hands on the £10,000 first prize this hasn't been a bad way to do it.

Overall:
Desford have put the work in this weekend - and haven't left anything to luck or judgement with this programme either. Well selected items that played to undoubted strengths and had that added bit of prize winning virtuosity about it too.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 16:14:41

11. Wantage A (Phillip Bailey)

The band use the full width of the stage for the impressive opening item from the pen of Rob Wiffin entitled 'Silver Sword' - full of bold fanfares and meaty chord chunks that show off a deep ensemble sound that is precise and well focused.

A bit of modern Moldovan jazz via Norway is next with the pulsating 'Unisons' which is just a bit too repetitive and long to hold the interest, but the xylophone solo 'Robbin Harry' certainly hits the spot.

It's a cracking bit of woodwork by soloist Toby Reed - accompanied by a black and white film of an old codger doing the same stuff from what looks a like a Pathe news reel feature. Neat, clever and well played.

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Not sure sure about the Delius to follow though - a rather strained 'Walk in the Paradise Garden'. Has its moments but doesn't quite contain the ethereal qualities to really make it shimmer with beauty.

A new take on 'Rhapsody in Blue' by the MD provides the finale for a focused and determined band - complete with saxophone solo in the middle backed by piano and bass guitar. Has a catchy beat this and is certainly a bit different, although the execution is varied to say the least. It sounds very tired and harsh to close.

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Overall:
A set that didn't quite live up to its early promise this. There was a great start but somehow it never quite developed despite the innovative take on two pieces from composing greats. Just fell away badly to close.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 15:35:47

10. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)

The theme here is Revolution & Rebellion (in a programme written for the band by Philip Littlemore) and starts over the waves in the land of the free (only after they nicked it from the Brits) and a clever 'Revolutionary Fanfare' featuring trumpets, tin flutes and waving flags.

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Off to Wales next and a homage to the banding revolution of 2013 when the Dragon roared in glory at the majors and a rather scrappy rendition of 'Men of Harlech' before we head to Castroland and the Cuban Revolution of 1958.

'Danzon No 2' overcomes a misfiring PA system malfunction to be delivered with a seductive touch of Latin colour, drive and passion.

Now come those pesky Highlanders and we get a Scotsman playing the baritone in an atmospheric take on 'Bannockburn' - which I'm reminded by the Editor of British Bandsman was a home win over the English. Nicely played too - with just the right skip to the lyrical beat.

It's Lenin and the lads next and the Shostakovich 12th Symphony - in homage to the overthrow of the Czar. The atmosphere is added to by the lighting - all moody dark yellows and reds that hint of the blood that was shed. Its bold old playing too - driving to the climax and the frightening denouement.

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Finally we get to the French (it had to be really) with the themes from 'Les Miserables' - all Parisian glory, tunes that have sold a million DVDs and given us confirmation of Russell Crowe's execrable singing talent.

The band keeps the Red Flag flying high although it was a touch tired to close.

Overall:
An interesting concept that very nearly came off - although it was too varied in execution. Just lacked the high quality precision and polish of others today, but there was a great deal of time and inventive behind this.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 14:51:48

9. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Dave Nesbitt)

Imps have gone for a musical homage to Billy Butlin - and it all starts with the band marching onto the stage to the sound of 'Imperial Echoes' - so he must have been an Italian immigrant then? 'Putting on the Ritz' further complicates the storyline.

This seems such a curiously dated concept - with Dave Nesbitt leading the potted history (did you know that the camp was bombed 52 times by the Luftwaffe? It should have been 53 as some wag next to us chirps!) This leads into excerpts from 'Aces High' before we are already in 1963 and the Beatles.

'Ticket to Ride' is literally blown through before we get to Michael Caine in 'Alfie'. 'What's it all about - Alfie?' is almost a rhetorical musical question with this programme, despite it being well played by the soloist dressed as what must be a homage to the character played by Shelly Winters? The theme is incomprehensible.

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The weekends now of the mid 1980s (although no mention that poor old Billy popped his clogs in 1980) and Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' which leads into the finale and 'Skyfall' from James Bond (two Bonds started as Redcoats by all accounts).

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Its a modern twist as a finale that closes an oddly constructed programme, but as it ends quietly we then get the final section of 'Les Francs Juges'. Only they know the secret to why this programme was picked.

Overall:
What an odd concept and even odder choice to music to try and carry it off - from Safroni to Berlioz via the Beatles and the flying arm of the Third Reich? Old Billy Butlins must have been one heck of a colourful character. Not a great show from Imps this - not at all.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 14:18:38

8. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Leigh Baker)

It's a Night at the Movies from Carlton Main with the famous introduction and images of 20th Century Fox providing the neat link to the classic 'Star Wars Theme' - played with a touch of brilliance and menace.

The music to 'Lawrence of Arabia' is a real tub thumper - especially with the two timp players bashing it out like Arabic Cozy Powells. Great music - played with a suave and sultry feel of atmosphere and a hint of danger. Just like the man himself. All that was missing was Omar Sharif appearing out of the haze on his camel.

Kirsty Abbotts is simply sensational in the 'Papa can you Hear Me?' solo from 'Yentl'. This was so beautifully controlled and shaped with musical tenderness.

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The comedic reprise of 'The Good, The Bad and The Frickley' - complete with the man with no name (but with a voice that could be heard in Grimsby) comes off well on this occasion - linking the comedy and music neatly and links nicely into the finale of Tom Davoren's arrangement of 'Over the Rainbow'.

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It forms a very effective closer with plenty of foot tapping energy and vibrancy on a tune that the the audience know and love - although it got tired to close.

Overall:
A well put together reprise of their Brass in Concert programme that had an extra level of polish and precision on this occasion. Not everything quite came off but the stuff that did was high class indeed.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 13:27:23

7. Flowers (Paul Holland)

The choreographed opening 'Los Endos' complete with thumping percussion pulse and rising dry ice is such an effective way to introduce things with polish and a touch of pizzazz - although strangely the music itself doesn't really go anywhere.

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What does is the masterclass given by David Childs on 'Endearing Young Charms' - played with such clarity and style (and without ever losing connection with the original in his tasteful pyrotechnics) that you are left breathless.

We are told the programme theme is Europe - although this seems curiously tenuous - Phil Collins and Simone Mantia to Karl Jenkins and three movements from his 'Stabat Mater'?

That said it is an intriguing choice with another central euphonium feature within its structure alongside the flugel and horn. It is very well played though - contrasting beauty with bold, almost brash vibrancy - controlled effectively by the MD, who only lets the leash loose at the end.

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A real display of power to close with Hazo's 'Olympiada' - driven home by an excellent perc section and a stamp of polished authority by the rest of the ensemble. That had a real weight of title winning aspiration about it.

Overall:
A performance set that knew what it wanted to achieve from the outset and delivered it throughout. Not the most inventive or technically the most demanding programme but it was so polished in its delivery.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 12:48:30

6. Thoresby Colliery (Steve March)

After the long delay to find the timp player's music we finally get off to an upbeat start in a set entitled, 'Myths & Monsters' led by MD Steve March.

No lack of confidence in the opening 'Dreaded Groove and Hook' by Simon Dobson, which is followed in complete contrast by Evelyn Glennie's beautiful 'A Little Prayer' - played with simple lyrical understanding. Nice that.

Great intro into the dark and disturbing world of Paul McGhee and his blackly pitched 'Teddy Bear's Massacre' - accompanied by Blair Witch video images and frightening clown marching on stage with a side drum.....

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Bloody hell - this is dark stuff! League of Gentlemen meets the Brothers Grimm. Superb - and very brave programming.

'The Witch of the Westmoorlands' carries on the darkly hued theme, but there is genuine warmth and emotion to the playing which brings it to life, and there is just enough fizz and fun in the unfamiliar music to the film 'Beetlejuice' to bring it to life too.

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The finale flourish comes with more film music and 'Night Fury' from 'How to Train your Dragon' - all fire and flames and drama by the bucket load - accompanied by excerpts from the film itself. Gets a little monotonous as it heads to the close and just loses its energy as the band tires, but just holds form the end.

Overall:
What an inventive, clever, well put together, brave and downright ballsy programme. Top marks for the effort and for the playing - with the most frightening and surreal piece of music ever heard at a brass band entertainment contest at its centre. Bravo. Deserves reward today, even if some of the execution was touch scrappy at times.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 12:08:07

5. Aveley & Newham (Melvin White)

A bit of a pyromaniacs delight from the Londoners as its all about fire - although the opening item, 'By Candlelight' is inspired by the nocturnal lights out music from the likes of Mozart, Schubert and Brahms.

A brave opening choice - very different and effective, and the heat is certainly turned up with the 'Ritual Firedance' by de Falla - all oil on open flames, complete with bass guitar and effective visual images.

Another diversion with Martin Ellerby's 'An Orange Note' featuring electric piano from his 'Cabaret Suite'. Short and sweet as a Satsuma before David Daws performs the oldest of old pot boilers 'Czardas' - played at a lick Yehudi Menuhin would have been hard pressed to keep up with.

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Another clever little detour to with a vocal version of the Inkspots favourite 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes' - with piano accompaniment before it's Peter Graham's 'Red Machine' complete with its nods and winks to 'Harrison's Dream' and 'Montage' to close.

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We seem to have lost one of the main themes of the programme though? Where does the fire element come in here? Fire at will perhaps? It is solidly delivered though to close things off if not quite in blazing glory but certainly hot enough to leave singe or two on the judges minds.

Overall:
A thematic set that had all the inflammable elements to really catch fire, but in the end didn't quite set the Centre Stage venue alight. That said, a lot of thought had gone into the programme (especially the visual accompaniment) in a programme that was certainly a bit different.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 11:18:20

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Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)

4. Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)

A touch of the cerebral to open with the first movement of Stephen Bulla's 'Concertante' - one to make the Suduko players in the audience happy if not the Nuts magazine readers.

Cliff Pask is a bravura lead in the old trumpet classic 'Virtuosity' - blamming it out like a stevedore on shore leave, whilst the iconic Dizzy Gillespie provides the flashy 'Night in Tunisia' which is delivered with a sultry underpinning pulse and a trio of soloists that were as flexible and enticing as a local Tunis belly dancer.

Contrast comes with the bucolic beauty of 'O Magnum Mysterium' - enhanced by atmospheric lighting and an admirable adherence to the dynamics.

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If there was a touch of quality about the Magnum the infamous 'Scherzo' from Shostakovich's '10th Symphony' is fraught and scrappy - losing that spiteful acidity that was poured out at Joe Stalin by the composer. Not one that would have made the old tyrant quake in his boots.

Over the Severn to Wales for the finale and Tom Davoran's upbeat 'I Bob Un' which bundles along with energy and hwyl - although it rather catches the audience out as a final item.

Overall:

A programme that had no particular theme or direction, but relied on the quality of the delivery to make its mark. A couple of question marks on that facet at times, but once again we liked the way the band aimed a little higher in the intellectual stakes even if some of the content has been used before.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 10:37:18

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The 'American Dream' with East Yorkshire Motor Services Band

3. East Yorkshire Motor Services Band (Alan Morrison)

It's an 'American Dream' theme from the North of England contenders - complete with Abe Lincoln lookalikes to open with 'Star Spangled Banner' that neatly segues into the old Bob Crosby version of 'South Rampart Street Parade' complete with well worked choreography.

The MD arrives in best Colonel Sanders white suit (or is it an American version of Randell & Hopkirk deceased?) - topped with red, white and blue hair. What a good 'ole southern boy...

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Neil Day is lyrical lead voice in 'Bess You is My Woman', whilst echoes of 50's prom dances comes with the flowing 'Save the Last Dance for Me'.

The clever little intro cameo appearance of Yankee heroes makes the old pot boiler 'Rule Britannia' sound as if the Brits are still lording it over the pesky Americans....

Well done to soloist Neil Johnson - who takes the UKiP Party vote with his 'Union Flag' jacket to close. Fine playing and a clever take on an old favourite.

The William Himes 'Civil War Fantasy' - played with accompanying visuals, audio and pyrotechnics delivers its message of hope and all things Americana - from Martin Luther King Junior to Barack Obama with purpose and atmosphere to close.

To think we gave up the Empire for Kentucky Fried Chicken and the dollar bill eh?

Overall:
What a well thought out and cleverly delivered entertainment set this was. Nothing too technically taxing, but musically it all hung together and was played with real brio. This could well put them right back in the mix for a possible podium finish.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 09:54:34

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Chris Jeans soloist with Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

2. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

Its a reprise of the band's Brass in Concert programme to start with the choreographed Henry VIII 'Pastime with Good Company' leading into 'Mambo' from West Side Story.

There were two close shaves with disaster in the opening though that would have sent a shiver down Anne Bolyen's neck - but it recovered through a sparkling bit of Bernstein. Still an odd mix though.

The fizzing 'Waltz' from Verdi's 'Macbeth' is very high quality playing - topped by a superb soprano and is followed by suavity of epic lounge lizard class by Chris Jeans with 'So in Love' from 'Kiss Me Kate'. Real undiluted class this.

More BiC reprise with the famous Prokofiev 'Montague & Capulets' theme, dark and dramatic, followed by Thomas Fountain in fine lament mood from Peter Meechan's 'Macbeth'.

The Stan Kenton big band version of 'Greensleeves' via Boston Brass rounds off the repeat programme from The Sage with a vibrant sense of style and colour - aided by neat solo inserts - including jazz baritone! Its a whammer to close.

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Virtuosi GUS led by James Fountain

Overall:
A themed set based on all things regal - although some of it was more Kings of Leon than good Queen Bess. Very well delivered though - and sounded a different band from yesterday, despite some sloppy moments or two.


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 09:01:03

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Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (David Hirst)

1. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (David Hirst)

Its a tangy start with 'Les Hermanos do Bop' played with a touch of fizz and pulse, followed by a Sunday morning touch of evangelical happy clappiness with the march 'Goldcrest' - with added songsters.

Flugel star John Lee is a suave solo voice in the old Randy Newman hit 'You Needed Me', which is followed by a bit more South American bubble with an ensemble version of 'The Children of Sanchez' - which is boldly played.

There is a bit more Lordy Lordy to follow with the hymn tune 'The Lord is Gracious' - played in that modern style so beloved of bonkers Texan television evangelists. He may be gracious but does he really need a Euro-pop backbeat?

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We are off to the Crimea for the finisher and a new take on 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'. Half a league, Half a league - into the valley of death and all that malarkey.

It's Hans Zimmer meets Danny Elfam in style - but is very dramatic and effective - although the charge itself seems to be missing. It finishes with huge thump though.

Overall:
A compact and quite conservative performance set - two bits of South American fizz linked by touches of religious contemplation a lovely ballad and the all guns blazing finisher (literally in that historic case).

Well put together and solidly delivered - but perhaps needed a touch more inventiveness.

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Introducing the bands and music - Frank Renton


Championship Section • Sunday 19, 08:34:50

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Adjudicators: Ian Porthouse & Derek Southcott

We are in the main Centre Stage venue getting ready for what promises to be a long but enjoyable day of entertainment competition.

14 bands will try and tickle the fancy of Ian Porthouse and Derek Southcott who are sat in the open.

It still appears to be a straight fight between Desford and Flowers at the moment with the rest a little way behind, but given it is on placings and not points the likes of Redbridge and Woodfalls, even dark horses EYMS or reigning champion GUS are still in the hunt - but need a touch of luck.

We will have to sit back and see....


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 22:32:17

Championship Section:

Entertainment
Adjudicators: Ian Porthouse & Derek Southcott

Draw:


1. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (David Hirst)
2. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
3, East Yorkshire Motor Services (Alan Morrison)
4. Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)
5. Aveley & Newham (Melvin White)
6. Thoresby Colliery (Steve March)
7. Flowers (Paul Holland)
8. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Leigh Baker)
9. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (David Nesbitt)
10. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)
11. Wantage A (Phillip Bailey)
12. Desford Colliery (Tom Davoran)
13. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
14. Woodfalls (Phil Randell)


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 16:41:38

4BR Prediction:

It's been a disappointing contest day today - but in hindsight we may have expected that on a test piece that has lost none of its ability to confuse and contradict both MDs and players

So many bands just couldn't start the accelerando process at a speed that allowed enough scope to gain continual momentum and speed. By the end all the energy had drained away.

Two performances did stand out though - with Desford on the best form we have heard of them for a while and Flowers delivering a typically solid performance.

behind them its more difficult to sort out with Redbridge just getting the nod from GUS, Woodfalls and Thoresby. Our dark horse though is Unite the Union.

1. Desford
2. Flowers
3. Redbridge
4. Virtuosi GUS
5. Woodfalls
6. Thoresby

Dark Horse: Unite the Union


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 16:20:04

14. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (David Hirst)

One of the better starts of the day - and it builds with intelligent intent too. This has been a well portrayed chorale - dark and austere by circularly with music flow.

The MD has chosen a conservative tempo to open and it allows detail and balance to be shown. There is a bubbling underlying energy to this that grows in subtle increments. Nothing overdone and it continues to carry a persuasive forward momentum despite the obvious minor unforced errors.

It's reached its tempo plateau now but MD doesn't try to push through anything that the ensemble cannot handle. The accumulated energy just disappears to close, but this has been a solid effort.

Overall:
One of the better ones today - intelligently constructed by the MD and responded to by his players. Not without its problems but it should more than hold its own.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 16:03:12

13. Aveley & Newham (Melvin White)

Just takes it time to settle into the darkly austere chorale, but when it does it is played confidently and flows musically.

There are so many noticeable variances in the various applications of the MDs tempo instructions - nobody is playing at the same pace. It finally catches the mark intended and now we can appreciate some quality ensemble work - led by the troms and euphs.

MD once again just picks up the pace with a few extra revs and the band respond. It's very workmanlike this - but that isn't a bad things today.

Starts to get tired and scrappy and the bubbling energy is starting to subside. Regains some lost ground, but it it is stubbornly static now. A kick start pushes things along but the final bars are a tad messy.

Overall:
Another inconsistent performance but one that had the right sense of musical intent. The band just couldn't quite push itself to the higher level required in technique and musicality that was obviously in the MDs grasp.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 15:44:39

12. Thoresby Colliery (Brian Grant)

A refined start is one of the best today - not brash or over accentuated either. It just loses the underlying flow as we get to the first sop solo but it then gains a constant well defined pulse.

A conservative choice of tempo allows for a really defined increase in momentum, and it just gains pace notch by notch. The untidiness in the ensemble just takes the gloss off, but this is sensibly managed and maintained by the MD.

Not the most precise ensemble playing but the musical intent and the incremental increase in pace has been exemplary - a single gear ratio increase. The final section moves and increases in tempo - and this is gaining energy inexorably to its conclusion.

Overall:
Perhaps the best paced performance of the day - with huge credit to the MD who stuck to his guns and drew out a performance that increased in purpose and energetic momentum right to the close. Not technically perfect but musically one to be marked up for.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 15:31:45

11. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Dave Nesbitt)

A harsh opening chromed heralds an equally hard and harsh chorale that lacks austerity and majesty. This is so untidy and wayward that you cannot sense the underlying pulse.

The tempo choice of the MD is intelligently paced, but the ensemble is so fragile and varied in its execution and ability to play in time. It recovers, but it is all hanging together by threads and is dynamically incoherent.

The pace is tweaked up neatly by the MD and at last we hear high quality playing - but why has it taken so long?

The final section has nowhere to go - the energy is misplaced and flying in all directions except forward. A tired band pushes the volume through but the momentum was lost a long time ago.

Overall:
A disappointing show this - with a performance that never quite managed to capture the forward momentum required - or the musical sense of purpose.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 15:16:53

10. Wantage A (Phillip Bailey)

A lack of ensemble precision spoils the dark austerity of the opening chorale and the tuning at times grates. The musical intent is admirable but why is it let down by these basic requirements.

Again - intelligent tempo choice seems ideal but the lack of precision is noticeable. It gains control as it gains in pace and now we hear some fine ensemble work. How frustrating - once more sloppy ensemble work robs the quality and the well paced momentum.

The final section is gaining in tempo - but a tired band seems intent on covering it with unforced errors. It has reached its optimum pace now and cannot accelerate further. MD maintains the drive but it has been an underwhelming close.

Overall:
What a frustrating performance - the musical direction and intent was on the button but elsewhere the fingers were pressing the one marked destruct. A rendition that could and should have been better.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 15:03:47

9. Wingates (Paul Andrews)

A fine opening is spoilt by a lack of ensemble concentration that almost creates havoc. MD subtly gains the confidence and gets things back on track but it was a nasty moment. The dark hued majesty is there now - but what a pity.

The opening tempo to the accel is well maintain and just edges up as we move into the third and fourth sections. There is a bubbling flow to the music as it moves onwards capturing the neat changes in meter too.

A return to the randomness in places is a real pity as the increase in gradual pace has been the best of the day.

We have reached a bit of a levelling off now as the music loses momentum. Where has the energy gone - it has seeped away as the band struggle to keep things precise. Sounds tired as MD just squeezes a few more revs out for the final flourish.

Overall:
There was the makings a fine performance hidden in here - as the MD certainly understood the musical intentions of the score. The band just ran out of accumulated energy though.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 14:47:12

8. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Leigh. Baker)

An inaccurate start takes time to gel and reveal the dark toned majesty of the chorale. Gets there in the end but it has not sounded coherent. Solo line are inconsistently delivered too - some brilliantly others not so.

The sensible tempo gets the accelerando off to a good start but the ensemble seems to find it difficult to play with internal precision - it is wayward in places despite the MDs clear beat patterns.

We have reached a tempo plateau that seems difficult to shift upwardly from - it's stubbornly lacking increasing momentum.

There is a noticeable change in gear in the final section but all energy is dissipated in the final few bars that are dragged back.

Overall:
A performance that never somehow gained the musical or technical momentum it needed to create a lasting impression. Too many individual inconsistencies shown in the delivery to make it a top line contender today.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 14:33:15

7. Flowers (Paul Holland)

Dark and powerful opening statements have a serious intent as well as a sense of majesty. The solo lines are played with warmth and detail but just on the right side of austere despite the obvious vibrato.

Well chosen tempo to start the accelerando bubbles with purpose and momentum - although there are one or two moments of uncertainty in need of the MDs attention. It regains its composure and ensemble precision even if the next gear change clunks into place.

The final section is pushed on like a steam engine - a real linear accumulation heading to its destination. Lots of good ensemble playing is heard now - and the MDs ensures the final push has just enough juice. A fine closing statement rounds off a performance of substance.

Overall:
A powerful performance full of intent. The drive and energy on display was high octane and high quality stuff, even if there were occasional moments of discomfort.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 14:19:28

6. Desford (Tom Davoran)

Such dark and bold sounds in a majestic opening that only briefly loses its focus. There are a couple of tuning issues, but musically this is so well laid out - a true Chorale, even if it is one very much crepuscular in intent.

A nippy tempo to start the long accelerando but it pulses and bristles with energy and momentum. There is plenty of fine solo and ensemble work in evidence here and that tempo has just edged up through the next two sections - appearing to know where it is destined to finish up too.

The final section is up in the red zone, but still it bubbles and fizzes. Not everything is razor sharp but that ensemble drive is so coherent. At last - we carry on accelerating right to the end - helped by a great trom trio who push the ensemble forward.

The final few bars just sneak up a few revs too.

Overall:
The most coherent musical and technical performance of the contest by a margin - the technical aim was met in full and with a sense of musicality too. A quality rendition this.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 14:03:53

5. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)

A solid start played with an austere edge and a welcome lack of vibrato in lead lines (as marked). The ensemble lacks a real overall depth of tonality, but this is well laid out and played.

A sensible tempo to start the accel makes sure the underlying pulse bubbles whilst reminding constant. Spoke a bit too soon as the noticeable gear change in the fourth section and then again in the fifth can be heard clearly.

Some troubles are appearing in the ensemble - there are a few puzzled looks on countenances. It regains its sense of purpose even if we have reached a plateau in terms of tempo. there is just enough gas left in the tank for one final push in the last few bars to round off a performance of musical note.

Overall:
An engaging performance this - with musical purpose even if the technical aspects were a little more fragile in places. Should hold its own today.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 13:49:57

4. East Yorkshire Motor Services (Alan Morrison)

At last we hear a first chord that is precise and balanced. Grows in confidence this although the minor error count is noticeable and distracting. There was the sense of majesty about this.

Some of the band has lost the tempo bearings given by the MD - this is energy flying off at different places. It regains it constancy but it was messy and frantic. It drives along and we are finally gaining in pace and momentum little by little.

The flow is maintained, but once more the energy input varies from section to section. It's hit the limiter now - far from the end and can't seem to gain any more drive and accelerando. Solid finish - but it was lacking pace.

Overall:
One that didn't quite live up to the early promise. The accelerando varied too much - and internally from section to section. Confident and bold playing but in the end the accumulated energy was piled on rather than gradually increased.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 13:36:04

3. Redbridge (Jeremy Wise)

A bold start has flow and purpose and is darkly hued. Solid solo lines and dynamic balances too.

The initial tempo to start the accel is nippy but it has that drive and underlying bubbling pulse. It doesn't really gradually accel - more noticeable gear changes, but it is confidently driven despite the odd slip and clip. Another step change in pace isn't subtle but it still has that engaging momentum.

The final section notches into top gear, but now you can feel that it has reached its limit. There is a long way to go, and although there is just enough gas to push the final bars through, it was rather forced and artificial.

Overall:
A performance that was set out very deliberately and hung on noticeable gear changes in tempo. Confident and precise though even if it wasn't the most subtle rendition of a very difficult work.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 13:23:45

2. Woodfalls (Phil Randell)

Another untidy start and this also takes time to find comfort. The tone is a little brash in places but it is confidently played and flows without gaining pace.

The opening of the long accel is well pitched and starts to draw energy and pace. Untidy in places and the ensemble isn't always precise, but it the crucial gain in pace is well monitored and controlled.

Just gets a little brash but it has a bubbling pulse that remains constant. The final section reaches a limit and has nowhere to go - but it it still drives through to the end. What a pity the energy disappeared in the final three or four bars - as it almost unconsciously slows down.

Overall:
A well managed account that had purpose and drive, even if it did get a tad brash and just lost its energy in the final few bars. Not a bad one though.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 13:08:27

1. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

An uncertain start - and it carries on as the ensemble fails to gel. The entries are simply not together. This is so untidy - as if the players are only gradually getting accustomed to the acoustic of the dead stage.

Yet again the ensemble fails to be cohesive and the solo lines are fragile too.

The quick tempo sees that band hit their stride at last - and feel that pulsating energy and growing pace. The underlying pulse is constant but we seem to have reached a plateau and there is nothing more to gain.

The final section drives through but it has reached its limit to round off a strangely underwhelming performance from the reigning champion.

Overall:
A performance that really took too long to find its feet - the opening was particularly untidy. When it did get going it was scrappy and the final section of 382 bars had nowhere left to go. A disappointment to say the least.


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 12:57:58

Championship Section:

Test Piece: Energy - Robert Simpson
Adjudicators: David Read MBE & Derek Broadbent

Draw:

1. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
2. Woodfalls (Phil Randell)
3. Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)
4. East Yorkshire Motor Services (Alan Morrison)
5. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)
6. Desford Colliery (Tom Davoran)
7. Flowers (Paul Holland)
8. Carlton Main Frickley (Leigh Baker)
9. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
10. Wantage A (Phillip Bailey)
11. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (David Nesbitt)
12. Thoresby Colliery (Brian Grant)
13. Aveley & Newham (Melvin White)
14. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (David Hirst)


Championship Section • Saturday 18, 09:26:47

The draw for the Championship Section takes place at 12.00pm.

Today they'll be tackling the set work 'Energy' by Robert Simpson.


Championship Section • Friday 17, 11:50:09

Championship Section details:

Venue: Centre Stage
Saturday 18th/Sunday 19th January

Set Work: Energy (Robert Simpson)
Entertainment: Own Choice programme

Adjudicators:
Set Work: David Read & Derek Broadbent
Entertainment: Ian Porthouse & Derek Southcott
Compere: Frank Renton




Foden's Band - Matt Ford - Lichfield Cathedral

Friday 24 November • 19A The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD


Lofthouse Brass Band - Pudsey Churches Together Christmas Concert

Saturday 25 November • Pudsey Parish Church, Church Lane, Pudsey, LS28 7BD LS28 7BD


Lofthouse Brass Band - Lofthouse Christmas Fair

Saturday 25 November • Lofthouse Methodist Church, Leeds Road, Lofthouse, Wakefield WF3 3NE


Enfield Citadel Band -

Saturday 25 November • The Salvation Army. 42 Clarence Road. Southend. SS1 1AN SS1 1AN


Newstead Brass -

Saturday 25 November • John Godber Centre. Ogle Street. Hucknall. Nottingham NG15 7FQ


Olney Brass

November 23 • 2nd Trombones, look no further. We are looking for a 2nd trombone to join our band. We are an ambitious 3rd section band with a new MD, winning the ODBBA winter contest 2017. Any other instruments, we would be interested to talk, please get in touch.


The Corsham Band

November 23 • With promotion to the 2nd Section from January 2018 the band are now looking to fill a couple of vacancies. One back row cornet (2nd or 3rd) plus an EEb Bass.


Thoresby Colliery Band

November 22 • Sadly due to work commitments we are looking for an experienced Percussionist to join our friendly and progressive Band. The Band has experienced a recent run of good form and is currently enjoying a sensible mix of contests, concerts and recordings.


Andrew White

MA(Ed Man), B Ed (Hons), BBCM, ADNCB, PGCE, Cert Ed
Conductor, Arranger, Adjudicator & Educationist